A former Port Fairy resident travelling back to the south-west by train is furious after V/Line refused to serve a hot drink in her reusable cup.
Susan Gourley traveled from Southern Cross to Warrnambool on Monday and was getting ready to settle in to the three-hour trip with a cup of tea.
But when she approached the cafe bar, she was told beverages couldn’t be served in “outside cups”.
“I was so shocked,” she said.
“I am very environmentally conscious and at every opportunity I use my keep cup to reduce plastic pollution.
“The staff member was lovely but said it was unfortunately their policy. I thought, how long has this been going on? It’s 2018 and plastic pollution is one of the biggest problems our environment faces.
"We’re supposed to be reducing our production and consumption, which most businesses do by offering a discount as an incentive to bring your own cup, but then you’ve got V/Line who denies a hot beverage to those trying to do their bit for the environment.
“Changes happen when people like me – everyday, grassroots people – choose to use a reusable cup or a reusable straw, but when you’ve got big companies and corporations who are apathetic and complacent, it undoes all our attempts at bettering our environment.
“To think that anyone is still at a point where they won’t accept reusable cups is just ludicrous. I think it’s time V/Line stepped up.”
ABC war on waste host Craig Reucassel said the incident was “ridiculous”.
“There has been a few places that have been refusing to do it and I don’t understand,” he said.
“I think they are being given the wrong advice. If you want to get given your drink in your own cup you should be able to do it."
A V/Line spokesman said reusable cups were not accepted on buffet services for hygiene and food safety reasons.
“Passenger health and safety is really important to us, which is why we’re extra careful when it comes to food handling and safety on our trains,” he said.
“To prevent cross-contamination, we need to ensure the cups are clean before we place them on our coffee machines.
“In addition, the V/Line coffee machine is designed to take a specifically-sized and shaped cup, to enable hands-free use when pouring hot water. This prevents hot water spilling on to our staff as the carriages move.
“V/Line on-board buffet facilities currently do not have a sink to wash the reusable cups to ensure they are clean. We thank the passenger for their feedback and we’ll ensure this is taken into consideration for any future designs of on-board catering facilities on V/Line trains.”
The spokesman said V/line was implementing a plan to reduce their environmental footprint, including recycling.
“Although waste generated from on-board catering services is already very minimal,” he said.
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